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Thursday, October 16, 2008

A rising tide lifts all boats

The aphorism "a rising tide lifts all boats" is associated with the idea that improvements in the general economy will benefit all participants in that economy, and that economic policy, particularly government economic policy, should therefore focus on the general macroeconomic environment first and foremost. The phrase is said to have been coined by Seán Lemass, the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) in 1959–1966 Lemass himself attributed the phrase to John F. Kennedy. Kennedy employed the expression to combat criticisms that his tax cuts would benefit mostly wealthy individuals.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson scoffed at this idea of general economic prosperity, as his speech to the Democratic National Convention on July 18, 1984 shows:

"Rising tides don't lift all boats, particularly those stuck at the bottom. For the boats stuck at the bottom there's a misery index."

[ Hey Jesse... if the boat has a hole in it as large as the one in your head it ain't going to float.]


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